DURHAM, N.C. – Freshman attackman Case Matheis scored with 1:40 remaining in the second overtime period to propel seventh-seeded Duke to a 12-11 win over reigning national champion Loyola in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
“It feels pretty good [to score the game winner] right now,” said Matheis. “It’s still starting to set in. More importantly I’m happy the seniors get to play another game. We really value the senior leadership on our team and they’ve taken great care of the freshman class especially. As far as the play we went it all went pretty fast, it’s a blur. I remember just seeing the ball fall on the ground. I scooped up the ground ball and then I realized I had a step on my guy and it’s OT so holding nothing back and see what happens and I was fortunate enough to score.”
The Blue Devils improve to 13-5 on the year and advance to the quarterfinals to meet second-seeded Notre Dame next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The Greyhounds finish the season at 11-5.
“First of all we want to congratulate the Loyola Greyhounds,” said head coach John Danowski. “What a fabulous game and it’s really cliché, but it is a shame that one team had to lose. They played with a tremendous courage and tremendous heart and I think the world of Charley Toomey and his staff and their players. We’re really proud to be a part of what I thought was a great college lacrosse game.”
Just prior to the game-winning goal, Loyola forced a Blue Devil turnover but Luke Duprey checked the ball loose from the Greyhounds. Mathis then picked up the ground ball and raced to the net to beat Loyola goalkeeper Jack Runnel near-side post, pushing Duke’s all-time record to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament overtime contests.
Matheis netted the final two goals of the game as his rebound of a saved shot and subsequent marker with just 1:05 remaining in the fourth period sent the game into overtime. The rookie from Darien, Conn., finished the day with a team-best three goals to push his season total to 23.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead less than one minute into the game on a goal by Jordan Wolf, but the Greyhounds responded with three straight tallies to claim a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter. After a Duke goal early in the second period, Loyola tossed in four straight markers for a 7-2 cushion at the 3:06 mark. The Blue Devils found the back of the net twice in the final two minutes of the first half, sending the teams to the dressing rooms with the Greyhounds ahead, 7-4.
“At halftime we thought that we weren’t making great decisions although we had some good possessions on offense, had some good looks,” Danowski said. “Their goalie was playing really well. We thought we were still going to get shots, I didn’t think we were going to get 40 more shots. The game got up and down. We had some opportunities in transition that we didn’t make. We were delighted there was so much hustle and so much effort. So many guys made big plays that you didn’t notice. [David] Lawson comes up with a big check and man-down we finally kind of solved them on that last man-down and we get possession of the ball back as Dan DiMaria and Kyle Turri run it out. We’re very proud of our guys and certainly salute Loyola.”
After Scott Ratfliff pushed Loyola’s lead back to four just over two minutes into the third quarter, Duke used a 4-0 run of its own to knot the score at 8-8 when freshman Myles Jones scored with 1:57 remaining in the period. The fourth quarter featured three lead changes before Matheis beat Runkel to tie the game at 11-11.
Brendan Fowler spearheaded the Blue Devil effort by winning 19-of-26 faceoffs and securing nine ground balls. Josh Dionne and Wolf added two goals apiece while David Lawson chipped in one goal and three assists as the Blue Devils took 61 shots compared to Loyola’s total of 37. Kyle Turri posted 13 saves between the pipes.
“The stakes definitely rise [in overtime] because obviously as a goalie you let it in the game is over,” said Turri. “I tried not to think about that. I wasn’t even thinking about playing defense. I was just thinking about Brendan [Fowler] winning a faceoff and going down and scoring. Once it came down to us I was just thinking about fundamentals. Do what I’m supposed to do and if we play right things will fall into place.”
Runkel was outstanding for Loyola by posting 22 saves. Zach Herreweyers led the Greyhound offense with three goals while Justin Ward dished out five assists.